Jan 4, 2012

2012 Resolutions

Welcome, 2012! The year I will exercise more and be more generous and save more money and keep my house cleaner and be more productive at work and keep in better contact with my family/friends and consume only the most-worth-my-time when it comes to literature/film/television/music and eat a perfectly-balanced diet and I will be healthy and beautiful and intelligent and everyone will love me but I won't be doing it for their love, I'll be doing it because I am Good.

I will write more. For this blog, oh the glorious posts you will ponder and laugh about and cry over this year! For sketch group, I will be an infinite pool of cleverness! For America, I will write a novel so great that Salinger and Fitzgerald and Melville and Twain and Faulkner and Steinbeck will all rise from their graves for the sole purpose of dying again in shame! I'm sure that novel's here somewhere in this folder of rough outlines and four-page introductions that I start when I'm excited about an idea but never actually want to do the grunt work on.

Like many of you, I enjoy the tradition of setting resolutions at the beginning of the year and then promptly forgetting them. It is wonderful to imagine a great new year ahead of you, but when it comes down to living each day individually, it's much simpler to live 2012 in much the same way as 2011. Feeling guilty is such a drag.

2011 Resolutions Status Check

Last year I said something about eating out less. If it came down to a count, it is probable that 2011 had less eating out than 2010, though I certainly didn't stick to the only-twice-a-week rule. I think will scratch the less-eating-out goal for the upcoming year and instead just focus on eating as healthily and cheaply as I realistically can without worrying about if I personally prepared it or not. Spending a lot of time and thought on food is just not something I care about enough to do.

Around February 2011, I also set a goal to save a certain amount of money per month which was soon modified to "just spend less than we make each month." Our employment situation turned out to be much different than originally anticipated as the year went on and we didn't exactly do too hot.
Money Earned - Money Spent by Month
Came out ahead overall but not by nearly as much as I would've liked. Those summer months when I was working very few hours and then unemployed took a nice bite into our savings.

I have no idea what was going on in March. My first thought was tax return, but then I remembered we only got like $40 back last year. We even took a Vegas trip that month that cost us a fair amount of money. No idea. Hopefully more months like that in the future, though.

2012 Resolutions in Order of Seriousness
  1. Save as much money as possible. - Hopefully 2012 will be better than 2011. Particularly with a Spring '13 Move to Chicago in the official non-existent plan book, we need all the money saved up that we can. As long as I can hold down my job, doing some serious money saving should be completely doable this year. Comedy income has been more regular for Trevor these last few months and hopefully sketch group will bring in some money before the year is over. Tylor, who has been living with us since July, should be on his own soon which will lower our food and utility expenses. I've been working my new job for three months now and hopefully hopefully hopefully I'll be working there steadily until the move. It's a much more stable company than my old job, so I don't worry about layoffs, but they're pretty strict about performance numbers and I'm not doing as well as I'd like to be. I think getting out of the holidays and into tax season will make it easier to get payments in the coming months and I'm getting better at being pushy with debtors, so we'll see how things go. The job thing is definitely the biggest cause of stress in my life currently. I'm not used to being bad at my job. Granted, my last job toward the end mostly consisted of messaging Trapper with the occasional drinking of water and going to the bathroom, but I was good at it!
  2. Get involved in community service. - It was easy to do community service on a regular basis when I was in high school and there were service clubs and church groups I was involved in. I've done very little by the way of service since 2004 or so, however, and I think it's time to do a little more on that count. There's a community center less than a block away from my apartment that always has stuff going on, so I really have no excuse. I'm going to have to do some research and figure out a worthwhile way to get more involved. If you're doing better than me on this count and have ideas, let me know. I'm pretty serious about this one.
  3. Do something to build credit. - I've never had a credit card and always paid cash for any cars or college tuition I've had, so I'm pretty sure the only thing I've got on my credit report is a cell phone bill I was past-due on for a couple months in 2007. Which combined with nothing is likely enough to make me fail any application for a loan or whatever people use credit for. I can't imagine why I would actually need a loan for anything in the near future, but it'll matter big when it matters someday, I suppose. It's silly to me that my having superb bill-paying history for the last few years doesn't count for anything and I have to borrow money to build anything. Even with a credit card, it just makes me feel icky. But it needs to be done. Because I really haven't been taking this whole credit thing seriously. It's something for adults to worry about, right? Oh. I guess I'm one of those now. Oh. I guess I should've started thinking about this when I was 18. Oops. If any of you have any advice on getting started on this, I'm all ears. I'm thinking about some sort of secured credit card because then you're only borrowing against yourself and I'd assume they're easier to get. I don't know why I'm so debt-averse; I remember when I was a kid and my mom explained to me what a mortgage was and I was horrified that my parents had done one of those because didn't they know they'd owe money for a long time? I understand now, of course, but there's just something inside of me that really doesn't like that kind of thing.
  4. Eat more healthfully. - No specific rules. Just think about the nutrition of the things I consume more often and give it more weight when making decisions about what to eat. I think I've been better about that the last year or so than in the past and I'll hopefully continue that trend.
  5. Keep better in touch with friends/family. - This will probably end up being reflected in lame things like more blog posts, but that's better than nothing, yes?
  6. Invest more time in making my apartment look nice. - I really like the idea of a clean and well-decorated house. I very rarely experience that, though. I pretty much only bother getting my house into live-able condition for parties, in which case the place is immediately trashed. I'd like to dedicate more time each week to both household chores and doing projects to add more personality to the place.
  7. Exercise more. -  I won't do it, of course. But we'll throw it on here because it would be good for me and I like to imagine a world where I exercise.
  8. Learn how to spell "exercise". - Even after spell-check got me with the first one, I spelled it wrong again a mere two sentences later. Maybe this will be the year I get it down!
  9. Buy more dresses. - I would be willing to wager there are more dresses in my closet than any one of yours, but I need more. Always.


M said...

I kind of am in love with #9 for your resolutions.

fortitude_north said...

speak for yourself when it comes to keeping resolutions: i have already had brunch out once AND planned a brunch party for this weekend. sure, succeeding at eating more brunch may cost me money and involve eating deep fried things and sometimes drinking before lunch. but the important thing is that i can make a resolution and then keep it, which shows that i am a person of substance.

Steff said...

I'm just going to chime in with an alternate opinion on the credit card thing.

It's actually really refreshing to hear that you've never opened a credit card, and if I were you I wouldn't do it. I opened a credit card when I turned 18, took out a small auto loan even though I didn't need to when I was 20, and did a few other things like that in the name of "building credit" a few years back. I wish I would have never done any of those things. If I could do it over my goal would be to have no credit score at all. (You can still get loans without a credit score. This article is interesting... http://www.zillow.com/blog/2010-09-20/i-have-no-credit-score-%E2%80%93-can-i-buy-a-home/)

Anyway, you spend more when you use plastic. It's plain and simple (and proven). We've always paid our balance off at the end of each month, but when we went all Dave Ramsey and started using cash for as much as we could, we were both BLOWN AWAY at how much less we were spending each month than we did when we used our credit card for our expenses so that we could "build credit." We've been able to save so much more, and we'll never have to worry about being tempted to just charge something in tough times.